[By Ally Henson]

Besides our eyes and lips, our hands tend to do quite a fair bit of talking when we are deep in conversation…, but just make sure that your hands don’t speak louder than your words! Beautiful, graceful hands indicate a person’s attention to details in grooming and speak volumes about the way one take care of oneself and probably indicate how you generally handle things in life. When one looks good, one feels more confident about herself which in-turn instills faith in people you are dealing with; be it at work or at play.

Frequently the focus of cosmetic improvement is the face and it is common knowledge that women would fork out top dollar to pursue treatments, creams and potions to fight the signs of facial aging.  Yet minimal or little care goes into our hands although they are probably the most age telling body feature next to our neck.  Being constantly exposed to environmental factors such as water, sun, wind as well as irritants in household cleaning agents and such; it’s little wonder that our hands bear the brunt of Father Time. Generally speaking, your hands are subjected to the same processes of aging as your face. As we age, our hands lose firmness and plumpness with fat lost and muscle wasting. With collagen deterioration, the overlying skin thins out and appears crepey , often flecked with brownish spots from long term sun damage. It is also common for underlying veins to become prominently visible and unsightly. So what are the steps we can take to combat the signs of a pair of aging hands to make them more beautiful?

Moisturize & Protect

Combating the aging hand syndrome may take more than a dollop of hand cream although something as  simple as that does make a difference. Because the skin on the hand is thin and has few oil glands to begin with, hands can quickly become dry and this will only worsen with age. The American National Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the use of a hand lotion rich in emollients like lanolin and humectants such as glycerin. Besides these two ingredients, others such as lactic acid and shea butter will also help smoothen and hydrate skin.

My picks will be Cetaphil Hand Lotion from boots.com and In The Nude Body Milk from sloaneshop.com for that luxurious feel of silky hands.

To prevent sun damage and further pigmentation, never leave home without slapping on some sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. If you got to play Cinderella over the weekend, always remember to put on a pair of gloves to minimize direct contact with the myriad of cleaning agents used!

Pigmentation

Age spots, or liver spots, otherwise known as solar keratoses when there are flat and serborrhoeic keratoses when they are warty protrusions with a stuck on appearance are another dead giveaway of aging. These are caused by the formation of excess pigment and are fairly common in older people with many years of excessive, unprotected sun exposure. Genetics may also play a role in their development. Although harmless, you should always have them evaluated by a medical professional whenever in doubt as pre-cancerous lesions may mimic them. Milder form of discoloration may respond to topical products containing hydroquinone such as the Instant Pigment Corrector exclusive to sloaneshop.com.

In recent years, those seeking younger looking hands may pursue other forms of medical treatments. “Chemical peels have been proven to work as well on the dorsum of the hands as they do on the face by  removing dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new healthy ones,” says Dr. Chua Han Boon from The Sloane Clinic. “In addition, the Gentle-Lase laser works very well on spot removal of targeted lesions and the Fraxel Restore non- ablative laser system is excellent for total rejuvenation of  shriveled, crepey hands.”

Skin Tightening  & Volumization

As we age, collagen fibers begin to break down leaving the back of the hands looking loose and lined. As there is little supportive fatty tissue in the hands to begin with, wrinkles may even be more noticeable on the hands than on the face. This problem can be rectified with Thermage, a FDA approved medical  procedure which achieves skin tightening by delivering radiofrequency waves that cause collagen formation and remodeling. The beauty of Thermage is that it can be applied to small areas of the body such as the back of hands for target treatment, producing significant, long lasting results. Volume loss and hollowing of the hands can be treated with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) fillers injection. Placed beneath the skin, the HA filler raises the skin level so that tendons, joints and veins lose their prominence and re-plump and replenish volume to the back of the hands to provide a supple and youthful appearance all in a New York minute!

Combating the aging hand syndrome takes more than hand cream (though that simple step does make a difference). The latest technology has given us a set of procedures that will have similar effects as those we have been able to accomplish for the face.

 

* Selected as Article of the Month Dec 2012*

 

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